February 18, 2013

Lakers owner Jerry Buss dies at 80: Jerry Buss, the longtime owner of the Lakers whose penchant for showmanship helped turn the game of basketball into “Showtime” and who led the team to 10 NBA championships, died Monday. He was 80.

posted by BornIcon to basketball at 11:08 AM - 6 comments

RIP, Dr. Buss.

The saddest part of it is how the Lakers team performance has deteriorated this season. My son and I were at the Lakers - Celtics game a couple of weeks ago, and we came away with a couple of observations.

First, Kobe Bryant turned a couple of "Kobe Haters" into fans. He was the only one wearing a Lakers uniform who turned in a full effort on both ends of the court. True enough, he was not passing the ball in this game, but it was not from lack of wanting to pass. His teammates were standing around, not moving without the ball, not getting up the floor after getting defensive rebounds or turnovers, and in general trying to turn the game into one of a static offense.

Second, the injury to Pau Gasol certainly caused part of the problem. Without Gasol, Lakers had nothing down low that could counter Celtics players such as Bass, Green, or Garnett. Even Paul Pierce was able to establish himself down low, although he was more effective from the elbow or just outside the free throw line.

In general, it looks like Lakers this season were trying to improve at the point guard position and add some strength defensively on the inside. Injuries derailed that idea, leaving the Lakers with few promising young players. As the game progressed, my son and I sat there shaking our heads in sadness. Putting a decisive beating upon one of your long-time bitter rivals is not very satisfying when that rival resembles a shadow of itself.

Pity that Dr. Buss should pass on at a less than happy time for his team.

posted by Howard_T at 02:20 PM on February 18, 2013

10 championships in just over 30 years. That's a championship rate of 33%. God only knows how many more if Jordan wasn't around. The Lakers' poor performance this year is sort of irrelevant and will fade away. Buss has come off as kind of quirky in his old age, but he has helped establish a truly remarkable franchise.

posted by phaedon at 02:46 PM on February 18, 2013

First, sad to see the greatest sports franchise owner of all time pass in a season where his creation is coming apart at the seams.

The Lakers' poor performance this year is sort of irrelevant and will fade away

Really? Their core consists of players retiring this year or next (Kobe and Nash), a guy they don't want (Gasol), a guy that can't play anymore (Artest), and a guy they wish they never signed who doesn't want to play (Howard).

Unless Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and 3 other top level players join the Lakers next year they are in for a long period of hurt. It's not as if they need 1 or 2 young players to round out the lineup, they have nothing.

And they don't have Jerry Buss or Jerry West to right the ship.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:57 PM on February 18, 2013

Last I heard, Mitch Kupchak is still alive. Although your other point stands, the current roster is pretty deplorable.

posted by phaedon at 06:40 PM on February 18, 2013

...a guy they wish they never signed who doesn't want to play (Howard)

The Lakers didn't sign Dwight, they traded for him. He'll be a free agent after this season.

posted by BornIcon at 02:23 PM on February 19, 2013

I think Dwight was a good pick-up. There's no way he's leaving Los Angeles, I think it's just a question of will they let him sign somewhere else or build a new dynasty around him. The type of "full of potential" player Dwight is makes it a gamble either way.

posted by phaedon at 04:21 PM on February 19, 2013

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